This afternoon at 12:30 pm my friend Susan Goughler, a member of HARRISON HILLS PARK'S Council Of Friends stopped at my house and picked me up in her car. We headed north to the community of Gibsonia, PA. a Pittsburgh suburb with which I am well acquainted, it having briefly been the temporary home of my parents in the 1980's. We were scheduled for a visit at the studio of the internationally acclaimed artist Robert Griffing, the foremost illustrator of western Pennsylvania historical images for the period of the French and Indian War (1700's).
As explained in my previous post I recently collaborated with Susan on her project of updating the Harrison Hills Park environmental learning center, adding a beautiful new exhibit that features the historical legacy of Indigenous people in western Pennsylvania. The new exhibit includes several prints of Robert Griffing's paintings that illustrate historical events in the eighteenth century.
The eighteenth century was a pivotal period in the history of North America. The events of that century decided, first; the dominant language that ended up being spoken in what are now the nations of the US and Canada (English), and then later; the origin of the new nation called the United States of America.
Griffing has made it his life mission to create a spectacular pictorial chronicle of that era in his magnificent oil paintings. His award-winning art has been hailed internationally as nothing short of extraordinary! A huge percentage of his paintings feature dramatically accurate representations of the original inhabitants of our region.
Griffing has made it his business to become extremely well informed on the topic of western Pennsylvania history with a special interest in its original inhabitants. He frequents the closest federally recognized Native community, The Seneca Nation of Indians at the Allegany Indian Reservation (Salamanca) and Cattaragus as well as the Tonawanda reservation, in western New York state and has cultivated great friendships with many of the Senecas there and in our general area.
Susan and I arrived in Gibsonia and fairly quickly made our way to Robert's studio not far from Route 910, a road that connects Gibsonia with nearby Dorseyville where our Indian Center is located.
It was such an honor to meet this man. As a fellow artist and oil painter I see him as a wonderful model.
The fact that Susan and I were given this opportunity to spend so much time with Robert and discuss topics that are of such interest to me personally was an incredible treat!
Robert's studio is replete with beautiful Woodlands culture Indigenous arts and crafts.
I am incredibly grateful to my friend Susan for giving me this opportunity to meet and spend time with this amazing artist whom I have admired for so very long.